The New York Times article yesterday detailing Philip Cooney’s creative writing skills has been bouncing around the world as well as the blogosphere. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan had his feet held to the fire yesterday at the press briefing. One of his more interesting assertions:

Q: In every example that we have seen, and Mr. Cooney’s emendations and deletions from these reports have been to the effect of making them less critical, less stringent, less apparently in need of immediate action. In other words, he’s done everything in the examples we’ve seen to pull back from worst-case scenario. He is not a scientist.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that’s your opinion, and I think your opinion is wrong.

It seemed the press corps sensed that McClellan was on the ropes with this topic, which led to zingers such as this one:

MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, there are policy people and scientists who are involved in this process, in the interagency review process. And he’s one of the policy people involved in that process, and someone who’s very familiar with the issues relating to climate change and the environment.

Q Because of his work lobbying for the oil industry?

It’s fun to read; even better to watch [RealPlayer]. Fun in a depressing, upsetting kind of way.

Yesterday’s press briefing was also the most time spent on an environmental topic in a White House press briefing in a long time.